The other week I had the privilege of borrowing a Leica M10 to
play with review seriously. Leica is a heritage brand of photography, and even just having one in my possession (if only for two weeks) made me feel – ridiculously – somehow more like a “real” photographer. I’d been lucky enough to attend the launch of the M10 at the Leica factory in Germany back in January (another treat of my job – can’t deny it), so it was great to have a proper chance to use it and get to know it.
For anyone that doesn’t know (and why would you), the M10 is what they call a “rangefinder”. That makes it different from just about any other camera I’m used to using, and is quite an unusual way to work. It’s manual focus only, which is a little tricky in the first place, but the way you focus is to bring together two boxes in the middle of the viewfinder. Once the boxes are aligned, your image is in focus. It sounds simple enough, but in reality it can take quite a bit of work to get the knack of it.
It also means that focusing on something which is not in the centre of your image is a little complicated. To really push the limits of what I could do with this camera, I wanted to shoot portraits. Most of my portrait work sees the subject placed off centre, so this shoot was always going to involve either repositioning the subject, or figuring out how to focus differently – or I guess cropping in post-production.
Although it takes a little while to get used to, when you do nail the focus, the results are lovely and sharp and display a beautiful “filmic” type quality that you probably only get from a Leica. Safe to say that with a retail price of £5,600 body only, I won’t be purchasing my own any time soon, but it was great fun to experiment with it none-the-less.
Now on to Eric, my lovely model. It’s quite rare that I photograph men, so when I asked my friend Rob if he knew anyone that wanted some portraits taken and suggested Eric I jumped at the chance. Having met Eric before I knew the shoot would be fun – and – in the interests of transparency, this was actually mine and Eric’s second shoot (more on the first soon, I’m waiting for the portraits to be used elsewhere before sharing them here…). Eric is great fun to work with, awesome at modelling and for some reason always seems to ask me deep and meaningful life questions while we’re working together.
I love the colours of this shoot – Eric’s dark blue suit works wonderfully well with the grey buildings of Cardiff University and Cardiff museum. There’s not hundreds of photos in this set, but I don’t think there needs to be. Also have a look for a special guest appearance from my dog Lola who insisted on coming on the shoot with us 😉
If you’re interested, you can read my full Leica M10 Review to find out more and see some different sample shots. Otherwise, any comments, suggestions, thoughts, missives or whatever else you want to say are welcome in the box below.